There were a lot of goodbyes involved when Jasmine decided to move to Phoenix to give her two children a better life. But in her case, there was also an unexpected hello: Jasmine didn’t know it yet, but she was pregnant with her third child, LaShawn.
“I didn’t know that I was pregnant when I first moved,” she says. “So I didn’t have a primary care doctor or anything.”
She found a local clinic, but still had concerns. With two children already, she knew she needed prenatal vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy – she just didn’t know how she was going to access them.
“Some women aren’t aware that they need to be taking prenatal vitamins until someone helps them understand why it’s important to have access to micronutrients during pregnancy,” says Bridget Quanstrom, Vitamin Angels program officer for the United States and Canada. “But other women, like Jasmine, lack access to prenatal vitamins, through lack of transportation or lack of finances.”
Millions of women and children across the country find themselves in this position every day – having fallen into a gap. Whether it’s an information, financial or geographic gap, the people who are most in need of health and nutrition services, such as expecting mothers, are not able to get the vitamins and nutrients they need. Vitamin Angels helps fill those gaps. According to Vitamin Angels, 25 percent of expecting mothers in the United States have limited access to prenatal vitamins and minerals due to gaps in their health insurance coverage during their pregnancy.
Partners on the ground, like nonprofits and local government agencies, work with Vitamin Angels program staff to identify potential beneficiaries. One of those local partners, as luck would have it, was the clinic Jasmine had visited. Using the resources provided by Vitamin Angels, the clinic was able to get Jasmine the vitamins she needed and the peace of mind she had been missing ever since she left home.
“She just had such a vibrant personality, but what stood out the most to me was her love for her daughter,” Quanstrom recalls, after meeting Jasmine in person on a trip to Arizona. “She was so grateful for the multivitamins, and thankful that we could help her start her pregnancy out on the right foot.”
When a customer buys a qualifying vitamin or supplement product, either in store or online, Walgreens makes a 1 percent donation of that sale to Vitamin Angels. Through this program, which first rolled out in 2013, Walgreens has helped provide needed vitamins and nutrients to more than 250 million women and children, in the U.S. and around the world. And this week, Walgreens Boots Alliance announced a new goal: to reach a total 400 million over the next three years.
“I’m incredibly proud of what this program has accomplished,” says Robert Dorsey, marketing specialist, brand strategy, Walgreens. “I’ve been involved in a number of impactful purpose driven campaigns over the years, but there’s something special about this program in just how many lives are impacted, and how direct the impact is.”
“Each individual purchase really does impact not only a woman in need during her pregnancy, but her growing baby as well,” says Quanstrom. “Everyone who buys vitamins at Walgreens is making a direct impact on real lives.”
This includes real lives like Jasmine’s, and her baby LaShawn’s. Thanks to the crucial vitamins received at a critical time in Jasmine’s pregnancy, both are happy and healthy in their new home in Phoenix, where Jasmine is focused on giving LaShawn and her older siblings the life they deserve.
“My favorite part of being a mom is just being able to make my kids happy,” Jasmine says. “Because my mother didn’t have everything, so I just want to get my kids everything I didn’t have and prepare them for more in this world.”